Tag Archives: immigration reform

Wish list for next POTUS

I want the next president of the United States to undo the damage done by Donald J. Trump. My to-do wish list is a lengthy one.

And by the way, I hope the next president is Joseph R. Biden Jr.

So, for the record and in no particular order of importance, I want the next president to:

  • Reinstate our participation in key international agreements, such as the Iran nuclear arms deal; the Paris Climate Accords; remaining a part of the World Health Organization.
  • Issue a new executive order reviving the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals for those undocumented immigrants who were brought here illegally as children by their parents.
  • Look Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in the eye and tell him he faces severe economic and diplomatic sanctions if he continues to interfere in our electoral process.
  • Restore environmental protections seeking cleaner air and water.
  • Revive our alliances within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • Start working immediately on comprehensive immigration reform. Accordingly, I also want the next president to strengthen border security without erecting a wall along our southern border.
  • Restore policies that welcome gay men and women who want to serve in our nation’s armed forces.
  • Stop the effort to kill the Affordable Care Act and instead work immediately to improve it and make it truly more “affordable” for millions of Americans.
  • Develop a sensible and comprehensive national strategy to fight the pandemic that continues to kill and sicken too many Americans every day.
  • Redeploy resources to developing clean energy.

I am sure there are other initiatives worth pursuing once we get a new president.

My hope remains that the day will arrive next Jan. 20 and not four years after that date.

Fix the DACA mess; restore humaneness to our immigration policy

 ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A Facebook friend, a man I actually know and respect, brought up a point on an earlier blog post that I want to acknowledge here.

He agrees with my belief that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency needs to be repaired, not eliminated, but he cautions about the need to deal with the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals matter as well.

He is correct.

DACA recipients are being punished unjustly only because they were children when their parents sneaked them into the country illegally. The Donald Trump administration wants them deported. The president rescinded an executive order that President Obama signed that gave DACA residents a form of temporary amnesty from deportation.

ICE is under orders to find these folks and detain them.

This isn’t right. It’s cruel and it is inhumane to deport DACA recipients, many of whom have excelled scholastically in the only country they’ve ever known.

I should point out as well two previous Texas governors — George W. Bush and Rick Perry, both Republicans — have all but embraced the idea contained in the DACA executive order that Obama signed. They have supported initiatives, for instances, to grant DACA students in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Texas. Why? Because they recognize the contributions these young students can make if they are allowed to succeed while continuing to reside in Texas.

ICE can do much good for the country as we seek to reform our immigration policy. I also agree with former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s campaigning for president, that the best way to ensure a thorough and lasting repair of ICE is to change presidents. Donald Trump won’t do it.

Indeed, DACA reform must be part of any effort to re-humanize our nation’s immigration policy.

ICE can be mended

Joe Biden is having trouble finding his footing lately as he campaigns for president, but I want to fully endorse an idea he has put forth about the nation’s immigration enforcement policy.

The former vice president says it is wrong to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It can be repaired. Indeed, the best remedy, according to Biden, is to elect a new president in 2020.

I have been troubled, along with progressives, by the ham-handed approach ICE has used to detain immigrants who have entered the United States illegally. However, the principle behind ICE’s formation remains sound. Yes, we need better enforcement along our borders — both north and south, I hasten to add — as well as along our expansive Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. ICE’s mission is to enact enforcement policies that seek to stem illegal immigration into the country.

ICE critics have taken the argument against the agency’s policy too far, though, by calling for its abolition.

Democratic presidential candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren, say the human rights abuses are a direct result of ICE policy. She’s only half-right. The direct responsibility for that policy flows from the White House, where Donald Trump is currently residing.

I agree with Joe Biden: The best cure for what ails ICE is to replace the president with someone with a semblance of empathy and compassion for those who are seeking to enter this country while fleeing oppression and crime in other nations.

There is no compelling need to abolish ICE. The agency simply needs to be repaired. Let’s start with removing the guy at the top of the chain of command.

What about those DACA recipients?

You remember the folks who were granted resident status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, correct?

Yep, those are the DACA movement folks who have been swallowed up by the political debate over whether they should be deported to countries they’ve never known.

As the country writhes in pain over the latest spasm of gun violence, much of it aimed at Latin Americans who have come to this country, I want to revisit briefly an issue that seems to have been shoved under the bed.

Donald Trump rescinded Barack Obama’s executive order granting DACA status to those who came here as children when their children entered the country illegally. DACA recipients were deemed to be criminals, even though many of them came here as small children.

Many of them have come of age as de facto Americans. They have performed well in school. They have earned academic honors. They have succeeded in business. They have reared their own families.

Oh, but they are “illegal residents” of the only country they have known. Their country of origin is a foreign place. They have no ties to them.

I want the Democratic Party presidential candidates to speak more clearly about how we can settle this DACA matter. My own preference is for them to pledge to restore the DACA standing given them by President Obama. Allow them to work toward citizenship or permanent resident status. Do not deport them, sending them to countries for which they have no connection.

Yes, we need to discuss the shootings. We need to search for ways to end this violence. We need to stem the hate speech that prompted someone to murder those victims in El Paso.

We also need to find a solution to the DACA matter that lingers. Kicking them out of the country is no answer.

Why punish DACA recipients for their parents’ ‘sins’?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in the news again. Indeed, it never seems to go away largely because some in Congress want to eliminate an executive order that President Obama signed in 2012.

For the life of my I keep asking: Why must we punish law-abiding U.S. residents for something their parents did when their children were too young to resist?

Obama signed the DACA order to protect those who came here as children when their parents entered the United States illegally. Many of those DACA recipients came here as infants or toddlers. Mom and Dad entered the United States in search of a better life. They just didn’t get into the country legally. They snuck in under the proverbial radar.

Over the years, many of those children grew into responsible adults in the only country they knew as young adults and older. They were educated in our schools, they attended college, they graduated with honors. They went to work. They have paid their taxes. They have lived as de facto U.S. citizens, except that they’re here illegally.

Barack Obama intended to protect them from immediate deportation, enabling them a path toward obtaining citizenship or at minimum permanent resident status.

Then Obama left office. In comes Donald Trump, vowing to eliminate the DACA order. He did so. He ordered the immediate deportation of these individuals. Why? Because in the strictest definition of the word, they are “lawbreakers.”

I admit — albeit grudgingly — that Trump is right. Technically, that is. The more humane approach would be to extend DACA benefits for those who came only because of something their parents did.

A federal court panel has just ruled that Trump’s order rescinding the DACA order was “arbitrary and capricious.” The president is sure to fight it.

I just am baffled that the administration continues to insist on punishing U.S. residents only because they happened to be born to individuals who sought to skirt U.S. immigration law in search of a better life for their families.

I’ll divulge a little secret about Donald Trump’s Cabinet. It happens to include a gentleman — Energy Secretary (and former Texas Gov.) Rick Perry — who once touted the notion of allowing DACA recipients to pay in-state college tuition prices, the same as any resident of Texas. So, you see, Trump hasn’t surrounded himself totally with heartless ideologues.

If only he would listen to others in his administration who share Rick Perry’s view that DACA does more good than harm for the United States of America.

Immigrants are a ‘blessing and a strength’

George W. Bush hasn’t lost his voice in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

The former president of the United States spoke today at an event at his presidential library and museum in Dallas about the value that immigrants bring to American life and the texture they add to our diverse American culture.

The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, has been a good bit less welcoming in his rhetoric about illegal and even legal immigrants. He wants to raise the bar to establish a form of merit-based immigration and, of course, has implied that the majority of illegal immigrants are pouring into the country to commit all manner of violent crimes.

That’s not how President Bush is wired.

“I hope those responsible in Washington can dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside and modernize our immigration laws soon,” the former president said in Dallas.

He speaks as someone with experience governing a border state, which he did from 1995 to 2000 in Texas. President Bush understands the value that immigrants bring to the United States and has sought since his time as Texas governor to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

If only the current White House resident would listen.

Immigration reform? Remember that matter?

The nation is getting all tangled up in this discussion over whether to build Trump’s Wall along our southern border.

Democrats and a growing number of Republicans don’t want it; Donald Trump’s followers — led by the cadre of talk-radio blowhards — are all for it.

What I am not hearing — maybe I’m not paying enough attention — is any serious discussion about how we might actually apply a permanent repair to the problem of illegal immigration.

How about turning our attention to serious immigration reform legislation?

We keep making feeble attempts at it. We get sidetracked and discouraged because too many members of Congress are resisting those calls for reform.

Then we hear about data that tell us that a huge percentage of those who are in the United States illegally are those whose work visas have expired. So, they arrive here legally but become illegal residents because those visas have run out. These one-time legal residence then are called “criminals” and “lawbreakers.” The become fodder for the president and his supporters to erect that wall along our southern border.

Can’t there be a concerted push to hire more administrative personnel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to process these visas or to speed up citizenship requests from those who want to become Americans?

The president did offer a form of compromise during that partial government shutdown by suggesting a three-year reprieve from deportation for so-called Dreamers, those who were brought here as children when their parents sneaked in illegally. That’s a start. However, Donald Trump connected that idea with more money to build his wall, which made it a non-starter for those who oppose The Trump Wall.

So now the president has declared a “national emergency.” There is no such thing on our border with Mexico. The only “emergency,” it seems to me, rests with the interminable delays that occur when foreign-born residents’ work visas run out or when they seek citizenship to the Land of Opportunity.

How about getting busy applying a permanent repair to the problem?

It ain’t the ‘Democrat Party,’ young man

I now want to pick a few nits with one of the right-wing wackos who works for Donald John Trump.

Stephen Miller, a senior policy guru for the president, says the administration will do “whatever is necessary” to build a wall along our southern border.

Oh, but then he relies on that goofy perversion of the identity of the opposing political party.

“The Democrat Party has a simple choice,” Miller said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “They either can choose to fight for America’s working class or to promote illegal immigration.”

Democrat Party? That’s what he calls the Democratic Party.

Hey, I get that it’s a minor point, but then again it really is more of a major point than the Rs would care to acknowledge. The hard-liners’ insistence on using the perverted ID of the Democratic Party is intended to demonize a great political organization. One does not hear such a thing coming from Democrats who might be inclined to refer to members of the “Republic Party.” That, too, would disparage — if not denigrate — the other great major political organization.

As for Miller’s assertion that Democrats might want to “promote illegal immigration,” that is another branch broken off from the demagogue’s tree. No patriotic American wants to “promote” illegal immigration. We all want border security. Many of us just don’t want to build a wall to seal us off from our neighbors.

Those Republican demagogues, though, are intent on demonizing the opposing party (a) by perverting the party’s name and (b) by suggesting they want to “promote” the commission of crimes.

Get serious, young man.

Yes, we damn sure are a ‘nation of immigrants’

The quote under the picture is attributed to the fellow in the picture, right-wing lawyer and radio talk show host Mark Levin, who is engaging in some of the worst hyperbole I have seen in this debate over immigration, illegal immigration and immigration reform.

For starters, we damn sure are a nation of immigrants. I don’t know the first thing about Levin’s background, but given that he appears to be an white guy, my strong hunch is that his familial forebears came from somewhere other than the backwoods of wherever he was born.

Europe, maybe? Yeah, probably?

I am the proud grandson of immigrants to came to this country in the early 20th century. I have a deep pride in my Greek heritage. I make no apologies for it.

And yet . . .  I consider myself to be an American patriot. I have gone to war for my country. So, to suggest that to be an American citizen is somehow mutually exclusive from living in a nation of immigrants is the most disgusting demagoguery imaginable.

One more point. I do not believe anyone is treating those who “cross the border illegally as the most virtuous human being on the face of the earth.”

Again, hyperbole in the extreme.

But as it is with these radio talkers, their “fan(atic)s” take their word as some sort of gospel. They glom onto their message, pass it on, giving them a life of their own.

I’ll concede that I do not listen to Mark Levin; I don’t listen to talk radio of any political stripe. It’s just that when these messages show up on social media platforms and get otherwise good folks all riled up, I am compelled to speak my own mind.

Levin is entitled to his opinion. Just remember: Opinions are like a certain body orifice . . . everybody has one.

Where did this ‘open borders’ nonsense originate?

I have taken a look at Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign website. I looked high and low for anything in there that suggests that O’Rourke favors “open borders.” I cannot find it.

Which makes me wonder: Where is this nonsense coming from, other than from the pie holes of demagogues intent on distorting the young man’s record.

https://betofortexas.com/issue/immigration/

You can look for yourself on the link attached directly above this sentence.

Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke’s Republican opponent, accuses O’Rourke of favoring “open borders,” suggesting that he wants to let anyone walk into this country without any kind of documentation. I don’t see anything approaching that kind of policy on Beto’s policy profile.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, another Texas GOP demagogue, accuses Democrats of “favoring open borders.”

Oh, and then we have the Republicans’ Demagogue in Chief, Donald John Trump, saying the same thing on campaign stumps across the country as he seeks to bolster the campaigns of GOP candidates.

O’Rourke and other Democrats keep talking about “reforming immigration policy.” They want a policy that doesn’t result in erecting a wall along our southern border. They want to allow the so-called “Dreamers” — immigrants who were brought here illegally as children by their parents — to remain in the United States, the only country they know; they want to grant the Dreamers a “fast track” to obtaining U.S. citizenship. O’Rourke wants to “modernize the visa system” to enable employers to fill jobs that Americans won’t do.

This is reasonable stuff, man. It doesn’t call for an opening up of our borders. It doesn’t suggest that we allow anyone — including known criminals — free and unfettered access to the United States of America.

This kind of perversion of stated public policy is nothing new. It’s been going on since The Flood. However, I still detest its effectiveness when pitched to a gullible audience.